Epidsode 7: Mommy P*rn

Join Lisa, Sara, and Malia as they explain to interested observer Lindsay, the appeal of Romance Novels and Erotica and their relationship to feminism.

Opening theme:A Dramatic Reading of extracts from ‘The Manila Envelope’; the latest romantic thriller from Gail Wesley-Snipes..

Top 100 Romances Poll ..

Lisa’s list of recommendations:
Diana Gabaldon- Outlander
Laura Kinsale – Flowers from the Storm
Jennifer Cruise- Bet Me
Suzanne Brockmann- Flashpoint
Connie Brockaway- A Bridal Season
Madeline Hunter – By Design
Mary Balogh – A Summer to Remember
Charlaine Harris- Dead after Dark
Shana Abe- The Smoke Thief
Susan Elizabeth Phillips- Breathing Room
Pamela Morsi – The Love Charm
Julia Quinn – The Duke and I

FEMINIST INFO RATING SYSTEM:

26 thoughts on “Epidsode 7: Mommy P*rn

  1. I loved this episode!!! It was really fun to listen to. Although I have to say, I never thought Lisa would be the conservative one here, lol. Lisa, I thought you of all people would like more racy stuff not the tame titles you talked about.

    1. Violence against men is not telakd about enough Ladies and gentlemen Europeans. Yes, it is essential to fight for gender equality and oppose the acceptance of violence. But this must include all forms of violence! Yes, we must rise up to the physical violence against women, but this will not exclude male victims of female violence. It would be wise to consider that when women are in leadership position (see hegemony) by social power they exercise, particularly in the judiciary of the Family and their corollaries, there is a wide disparity of treatment for men and children victims. This psychological violence against men and their children is as unacceptable. It is high time it stopped for putting together the two genres back to back is involved in social unrest in all areas. Violence only begets violence, every form of violence must be punished with the same determination and just. psychological abuse which many men are victims is the cause of a number of annual deaths exceeds those of physical violence, men and women equal rights, yes certainly, but in all areas and in the same spirit of fairness Universal! What seems today to be forgotten by these psychological abuse women! Is that we are born female or male, in comfort or poverty, we have all been designed in the same manner and we are above all human beings as such deserves some respect and dignity. Knowing whether voluntary or unconscious discrimination affects, equal rights, equal opportunities, but also to equality of everyone’s duty. I knew that and I suffer more do I end my days because of the psychological abuse I suffered. ?

  2. Its like you all read my mind! I loved the discussion here. I will certainly be back. Although, I’m not sure why you’re so scared to call it p*rn. It adds stigma to the word and the topic that doesn’t need to be there.

  3. I am quite dismayed at what was said about men writing about sex. I wonder how feminists would react if men got on a podcast and started ripping apart how women write about sex. What if men said their descriptions of sex were boring and pretentious? Or said that their sexual fantasies are stupid? Inauthentic? Base? Emotionally inauthentic? Or, even more insulting, if men asserted that female fantasies have been deformed by society?

    If it isn’t right for men to devalue and dismiss female sexuality, then it’s not right to devalue and dismiss male sexuality.

    This is a perfect example of why I eschew feminism. Human nature is dismissed far too easily and too much credence is given to acculturation and social programming…. making people feel justified in dismissing behavior that makes them uncomfortable. It also makes them feel justified in approving only the male behavior that conforms to what they think it should be. Anything that doesn’t conform easily gets tossed out as bad cultural programming. I don’t find it to be a valid approach.

  4. I agree with heather’s comment above. I was very surprised to hear fmhLisa say that too. Not cool and not accurate and not fair. Im assuming it was a slip of the tongue? I’m glad that a male poet was brought up as an example that men CAN and do write sex just fine.

  5. Oh boy Heather. You either stopped listening when you heard something that confirmed your feminist=bad theory or you just ignored the long discussion we had about men being shortchanged by patriarchy and not allowed an authentic male sexuality either. But that’s cool. Eschew away.

  6. Heather, Dan, I think you both absolutely have a legitimate point. I do not like the way I was trying to make my point/express my opinion here. I agree that it comes off badly. If I had been carefully writing a post comparing the way men and women write sex scenes, or if I had even been more clear about the point I was trying to make (and part of that was that I wasn’t even clear in my own mind), I’m fairly certain I would have worded my critiques differently

    I really do not think that men have a diminished capacity to write sex, though I think it pretty clearly sounds like that is what I meant, and I think Sara tried to save my blunder a bit by saying “I don’t think Lisa means” and I can’t remember exactly how she put it, but basically I think the way men and women are socialized to think about sex and express themselves verbally about sex, often (not always) limits the way that men write about sex. And in my experience I find the way men tend to write about sex very dissatisfyingly physical/visual (or as I said in the podcast body parts bumping into each other). Lacking in emotion, often not tying it into character arcs, not letting it be vulnerable and *real*.

    I highly doubt this is some inherent trait men are born with, but it has been my experience again and again in everything from high literature to trashy spy novels.

    1. Two thoughts on how women write about sex versus how men do: First, if I remember right, in the podcast one of your complaints about men was that they had characters rush into sex with little preliminary build-up, compared to women who tended to build it up better and more realistically. My thought when I heard that was that that kinda matches women’s and men’s sexual response, I think. Men are easier to get excited, and can get up to a quick peak and then come back down, while women are slower to get excited, but then enjoy their peak experience longer. It’s perhaps a bit of a stretch, but I wondered if this physiological difference might play into writing styles.

      Reading your comment here too about men’s writing about sex being “lacking in emotion” and “not [tied] into character arcs,” I think this might be consistent too with how women and men think about sex differently even when not writing about it. If I remember right, there’s a well known study by a psychologist who had people approach women and men on college campuses and basically ask if they were interested in anonymous sex. The men were far more interested than the women were. I wonder if this difference is also playing out in men’s writing versus women’s.

  7. I enjoyed the episode but would love to hear this topic explored in more detail. I like the idea of the word ‘p0rn’ talked about and how some feminists are afraid to use it. It’s sort of sex-negative and prudish to be afraid of the word but like the novels and yet I find myself in the same camp as Lisa. I don’t like to call the books p0rn, and yet… why not? Why don’t we? Why are we so afraid of a word that means so many things. That would be a good topic to discuss.
    Also, I like all the recommendations and would like everyone to put a list up if possible. Also, I never heard about Malia’s Twilight defense. I know there are problems with the plot but I did enjoy the book and have a hard time admitting it in feminist circles. I’d love to hear more about that.

  8. Kristi,
    I think there should be a line between sexually explicit material that exploits people and demeans (mostly) women, and sexually explicit material that does not. Mormons don’t make that distinction (we’re pretty afraid of anything sexual), but I think for the most part feminists do. I think most feminists these days endorse a more sex-positive feminism, that women can own and enjoy our sexuality with out shame. and the objections that feminist have with p0rn has less to do with the sexual nature of the material, and more to do with the underlying impact it has on they was actual women are treated, and the way the images/stories/film portray women as victims, passive, used, dirty, or objectified. So that is my objection to the use of the word P0rn, I don’t mind the word erotica (though I doubt many mormons would see the difference) to me there *should* be words we use to distinguish one kind of material from the other, and that is how my own preference/understanding seems to weigh it out.

  9. I enjoyed this discussion, but agree with Lindsay that there is much more to discuss. If romance novels or erotica can be seen as healthy outlets for female sexuality in repressed cultures, couldn’t the same be said of at least some kinds of more traditional porn as outlets for repressed male sexuality? (As an LDS single adult for many years, I can tell you that there are A LOT of sexually repressed Mormon single men out there.) If we are asking our male partners to accept the female form of sexual fantasizing through written erotica, do we not have to make room for something similar for our men? If we accept that men’s sexuality tends to be more visual, should the visual depiction of sex not be available to them? Is there a way to make heterosexual male-geared (i.e. visual) erotica in a way that does not exploit women or reinforce patriarchal norms? If so, would men find it appealing? Would women still find it objectionable?

    1. Great points. We are actually going to tape some podcasts on p0rn in the future and hopefully address your concerns. I know in Mormon Feminism I’m sort of in the minority, but I don’t think *all* p0rn in harmful to women. Certainly the industry preys on women, sexual trafficking and all of that, but again, the term is so broad it would be good to explore the topic from several different perspectives.

    2. Hey, women like “traditional” porn too. Let’s not assume a media text is confined to a gender, as it clearly isn’t. I honestly prefer pretty visual porn to cheesy writing, and I’m saying that as a writer – written sex can just be awful, haha. But yeah, most girls I know much prefer visual porn.

  10. When Lindsay mentioned her weird fan fiction discovery, the first thing that came to my mind was Mary Poppins and Bert… of Bert & Ernie fame.

    It took me a moment to figure it out. Now the actual fan fiction doesn’t sound quite as weird, does it?

  11. My favorite quote, when discussing how some feminist women hate to admit that they actually enjoy “sexist” romance novels: “Feminism ruins everything. Takes all the fun out of it.”

    Yep–our God-given biology includes men and women with very real, inherent differences. We’ll be happier if we admit, embrace, and channel those desires, rather than try to kill them and pretend those differences don’t exist.

  12. crazywomancreek: What an incredibly judgmental and presumptive thing for you to say. Just because I don’t see the world the way you do doesn’t mean I stopped listening to spout off with an uniformed opinion, or that I just shut off my brain when I re-affirmed my “bad theory.” I made a specific point to listen all the way to the end BEFORE commenting. I also listened to that portion of the podcast twice. I did both of those things because I didn’t want to raise my objections without hearing out the podcast first.

    I’m sure this is futile, but I’ll try to better explain. In my comment I was trying to make 2 points.

    1. Men would be burned alive if they talked about women in a similar fashion. Lisa addressed that portion of my comment and I’m glad I brought it up because, as she explained in her response, she wasn’t being intentionally callous.

    2. I don’t accept the premise that sexuality is controlled by culture. I’m sure there is some cultural influence. But there are fundamental, biological differences between men and women. I assert that men write about sex from the male viewpoint… which is influenced by male sexuality… which is different from female sexuality… and THAT is why it doesn’t appeal to women (by in large).

    I do not think male sexuality is the “victim” of cultural indoctrination. And, to be honest, I think that assertion insulting to men. Just because feminists don’t like male sexuality (or behavior or what-have-you) doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with it. But that is always the conclusion. Men do X and it doesn’t fit nicely into the way we see the world. So it’s obviously a sad outcome of patriarchy. Sorry, but I don’t agree. I find similar “problems” with feminist ideology on many other related issues (mostly related to gender roles and female/male behavior) and I often vehemently disagree with the conclusions feminists reach about them. That doesn’t mean I conform to the assumptions you made about me.

    I’m sure nothing I say will convince you that I’m anything other than “happy in my gilded cage” or a “victim of the lies society has propagated about feminism” or “operating under misguided notions about second-wave feminism.” So, assume away and I’ll eschew away. Cheers.

  13. Strongman…. are you listening to the fmh podcast?!? I’m telling your bishop ;)

    Heather, I would love to have you on an episode about gender essentialism/gender binary where we could really hash out those issues. Myself, I stand somewhere in the middle. I absolutely believe we are socialized towards certain behaviors, roles and preferences but I also believe in biological differences as well. I’m a nature and nuture kinda gal. How this translates into my feminism is that I believe that women have very distinct and beautiful things that they can bring to the table that they aren’t allowed to in a patriarchal system.

  14. I enjoyed the podcast, but I was hoping it would be a bit more “naughty”. I guess I was expecting more of a discussion on how erotica can influence female sexuality. I’d love if the discussion continued, us Mormon women seriously need to learn more about sexuality.

  15. Am I totally lame if I’ve gone back to listen to the intro reading thing like, 4 times? I just about die every time that guy says “quiver”. And it’s not the orgasmic kind of death. :)

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